Chapter 13: The Blue Spirit
*pauses DVD* Whoa. I feel like I'm too busy enjoying the show to type anything. This is a fantastic episode—maybe my favorite of season 1. Jason Isaacs as Admiral Zhao is so coolly evil; Zuko's torment and desperation are beautiful; Aang fleeing from the expert archers is incredible.
Looking back now, I have to wonder, how could I not have known it was Zuko behind the mask? But it was a total surprise.
"We are the sons and daughters of fire, the superior element." Zhao's speech seems to echo real-world racial hatred.
I really like the drum theme that keeps recurring in this episode. It adds momentum to the story.
This is the episode where Zuko finally gets to be cool. Always before, he was thwarted, often in embarrassing ways. But when the audience doesn't know it's him, and doesn't know if he's really helping Aang or not, he's allowed to be a stealthy, powerful, capable NINJA!
Ah, teamwork. I get such a thrill watching Aang and the Blue Spirit helping each other, almost instinctively. And then comes the first twist: *shing* those two blades at Aang's throat. Then the second twist: the scar peeks out from behind the mask. *shivers* The climax of this episode is just so well done.
Chapter 14: The Fortuneteller
Oh, man. Sokka is bringing to mind Hermione again—this time because of his skepticism. It's funny—my first time through the series, I thought Sokka was very Ron-ish, but this time through, all I can see is Hermione. It's cracking me up. Well, really, *glances around furtively for any Harmonians* I think both Harry's sidekicks tended toward the comical side. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Sokka sort of covers both their roles. Also, for another comparison, my Baka Rosian friends, who have just started watching the series now, said they think Sokka=Han Solo.
"You have the power to shape your own destiny." Indeed. Wise words form Aunt Wu.
Meng is so adorable. I hope she grows up to have lots of cute unmanageable-haired, big-eared babies. ;)
Chapter 15: Bato of the Water Tribe
I like the scene at the beginning where Sokka examines the evidence and gives details of the battle between the Water Tribe and the Fire Nation. Another comparison: tracker!Sokka = Prince Humperdink, only nicer.
Jun and the Shirshu make an entertaining plot device.
In terms of moral fiber and empathy for others, I think this may be the only episode where Aang actually acts like a 12-year-old. It still surprises me how selfish he is in this episode when he keeps the message from Hakoda to himself.
The kids' "ice dodging" is an inspiring scene, with Sokka pushing them to navigate—thanks to a little help from their bending skills—through obstacles Bato thought too difficult for them. The scene afterward is heartbreaking. It's hard to believe the kids would break up over that, after all they've been through.
Awww, Kataang cheek kissy-kiss! <3
Chapter 16: The Deserter
Today I'm feeling the Star Wars parallels more than the Harry Potter ones. Earlier I was re-watching several episodes with the Baka Rosians, and Star Wars references kept coming up: in "The Winter Solstice" the kids' running the blockade was reminiscent of the asteroid field; in "The Storm" the monks reminded me of the Jedi Council. In this episode, Jeong Jeong takes on the role of Yoda: tough, philosophical, maybe a little crazy in exile, and insisting, "He's not ready." And Avatar Roku takes on the role of Obi-Wan, the young hero's advocate.
The moral lesson in this episode is delivered more powerfully than other episodes so far, I think. Between Aang wounding Katara to his great regret, and Zhao foolishly destroying his own ships, it's almost too heavy-handed in its message—but not quite.
Ask the Creators Featurette
This is a question and answer session with the creators, known from here on as Bryke. Some highlights:
-Appa is a cross of bison + manatee, Momo is spotted bat + lemur.
-As I had speculated to some of the Baka Rosians, the arrow tattoos are the mark of an airbending master, which explains why Aang and the
-Zutara vs. Kataang: They pretty much gave non-answers to the shippy questions. To Zutara: "You should really be wondering about an Appa and Momo romance." To Kataang: "You'll have to keep watching to find out." Hmm…bet fandom had fun with those.
Original Animatic: Chapter 15 – Uncut
This appears to be an animation of detailed storyboards for episode 15. Kind of a pre-animation sample of the show, I guess. It's…not that exciting, except that you get glimpses of a few scenes that were cut some time before it became full animation. Before watching this, I was wondering how long Hakoda has been gone, but a cut scene answers that: two years.
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